Location: Plant, Soil and Nutrition Research
Title: Geochem-Ez: a Chemical Speciation Program with Greater Power and Flexibility Authors
Submitted to: Plant and Soil
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: November 15, 2009
Publication Date: April 3, 2010
Citation: Shaff, J., Schultz, B., Craft, E.J., Clark, R., Kochian, L.V. 2010. GEOCHEM-EZ: a chemical speciation program with greater power and flexibility. Plant and Soil Journal. 330:207-214. Interpretive Summary: A very important tool in plant nutrition research is the ability to grow plants in nutrient solution; this growth technique is known as hydroponics. This enables the researcher to control the identity and concentration of both essential nutrients in the growth solution, and also toxic species such as aluminum ions. Hydroponic based research depends on the ability to design nutrient solutions that mimic real world soil solutions. One of the key tools in designing realistic nutrient solutions are chemical speciation computer programs such as GEOCHEM-PC that allow the researcher to input the concentrations of each chemical in solution and calculate the actual available levels of each ion in each chemical added to the solution. This is particularly important for aluminum tolerance research, as the aluminum salts when dissolved in solution can yield a bewildering array of different forms of aluminum ions, of which only the Al3+ ion is toxic to plant roots. Until now, the GEOCHEM-PC program could only be run on old fashioned DOS-based modules. Here we report on the development of GEOCHEM-EZ, an improved GEOCHEM program with a Java graphical interface, added help files, and improved power and function to be run on any computer that supports Windows XP or Vista.
Technical Abstract: GEOCHEM –EZ is a multi-functional chemical speciation program, which was designed to replace the existing GEOCHEM-PC, a program that can only be used on DOS consoles. Chemical speciation programs, such as GEOCHEM (Sposito and Mattigod, 1980) and GEOCHEM-PC (Parker et al., 1995), have been excellent tools for scientists to use in designing appropriate solutions for their experiments. GEOCHEM-PC is widely used in plant nutrition and soil and environmental chemistry research to perform equilibrium speciation computations, allowing the user to estimate solution ion activities and to consider simple complexes and solid phases. As helpful as GEOCHEM-PC has been to a number of scientists in their work, the consensus among users was that the program was not very user friendly, was difficult for new users to learn and to troubleshoot, and suffered from several functional weaknesses. To enhance the usability and to address the problems found in GEOCHEM-PC, we upgraded the program with a Java graphical interface, added Help files, and improved both the power and function, allowing it to run on any computer that supports Windows XP or Vista.